The Five Pillars
The five pillars of Islam are Iman (Faith), Salah (Prayer), Zakah (Charity), Sawm (Fasting during Ramadan), and Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca).
A Muslim must have faith that "there is none worthy of worship except Allah (God) and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the last messenger of Allah (God). This declaration of faith is called the Shahadah and this simple and small phrase must be wholeheartedly believed in. This pillar is the most important pillar of Islam.
Salah (prayer) is obligatory on all healthy Muslim to perform five times a day. These prayers were commanded by Allah not to put hardship on people but rather to help us stay on the right path and as a defense aganist Iblis (Satan). The prayers are a direct link with Allah. The five daily prayers take place at dawn, noon, late-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall.
In Islam a Muslim understands that everything including the clothes on his/her back belongs to Allah. So giving charity a necessary part the Islamic faith. It is a way to purify one's wealth by giving 2.5% of one's wealth to the poor. Aside from financial charity there is also volunteer charity which Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that even smiling at another human being is like giving charity.
Sawm (Fasting during Ramadan):
Every year Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset. Allah commands in the Holy Quran "O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you might gain God conscious" (2.183). Fasting gives Muslims a chance to experience how poor individuals feel everyday.
Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca):
Every Muslim who is financially stable and physically healthy is obligated to perform the pilgrimage to Kaba in Mecca. Every year more than two million people go to Mecca during month of Dhul-Hijjah (Islamic Month) to perform the Hajj. The Hajj is when every pilgrim wears simple white cloth sheets and stands equally in front of God. Hajj roughly consist of about three days and includes rituals that go back to Abramhamic times and were conducted by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).